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Pope reflects on Incarnation at year's 1st weekly audience

Catholic World News - January 02, 2013

At his first weekly public audience of the new calendar year, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the Incarnation of Christ: “something so radically new that it was capable of changing the course of history.”

The Pope told about 7,000 people who assembled in the Paul VI auditorium on January 2 that the light shining from Bethlehem still retains the power to break through “the darkness that often surrounds our world and our hearts.” This mysterious power, he said, prompts the question: Where does Jesus come from? The Gospels answer that question clearly, the Pontiff continued: “His true origin is the Father, God.” With the Nativity, “God becomes Emmanuel, God-with-us.” Pope Benedict observed that in the Masses produced by great composers, the music slows at the phrase in the Creed, “et incarnatus est.” The Pope suggested that “they linger over this phrase in a particular way, almost wanting to try to express with the universal language of music that which words cannot make manifest: the great mystery of God made flesh, of God made man.”

The Creed goes on to say that Jesus took flesh ex Maria Virgine, the Pope reminded his audience. The role of the Virgin is crucial, and a lesson to the faithful:

Sometimes, even along the path and in the life of faith, we can sense our poverty, our inadequacy in front of the witness to be given to the world. But God chose precisely a humble woman, in an unknown village, in one of the furthest provinces of the great Roman Empire. Always, even amidst the most arduous difficulties to be faced, we must have faith in God, renewing our faith in his presence and in his action in our story as in that of Mary. Nothing is impossible to God!

Jesus, the new Adam, comes through the Virgin Mary, the new Eve. Pope Benedict remarked that this image prompts thoughts of the new birth that comes through Baptism. He went on to observe that Christians are baptized, with the verb expressed in the passive voice, “because nobody is capable of converting themselves into a child of God by themselves. It is a gift that is freely conferred.”

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